Above is a recent bust that I have finished titled “Concordia.” It is bronze with copper inlay lips and eyes of alabaster with lead irises. I modeled the bust in clay and retouched the wax and then completed all the chasing and finishing in bronze.
My choice of subject is inspired by the Roman deity Concordia. She is symbolic of social concord and representative of the Greek idea of Homonia. The visual expression of concepts fascinates me. In addition to being judged by our physical appearance our actions condition how we are percieved. Daily choices, usually guided by a personal ethical code, determine our public persona. Ideally we are living personifications of value systems we choose to follow. Concordia is an exploration of this idea.
Inside the statue I glued a series of notes that I collected from the Badia in Florence. They come from the New Testament and promote harmony and peace. This added level of meaning reinforces the formal aspects of the sculpture.
I have recently completed a couple of small bronzes. Equos was modeled from my imagination using other equestrian statues as references. Luckily, Florence is full of them. In addition, I studied the horses for the carriage rides in Piazza Signoria. It is my first amimal scupture and was completed during my bronze statuary class of 2014. I am definitely looking to creating more. Equos will be an edition of 10. Each piece is an original as I finish each bronze myself.
The second bronze is of L’Hiver or Winter. She was created from my imagination. L’Hiver will also be an edition of 10, each retouched and finished by my hand.
I have recently finished a couple of busts of my children. The one pictured above is of Gabriel when he was about 14 months old. The second is of my daughter Marie Neige at about 10 months. Children grow very quickly and go through many physical changes. It is a fascinating study for a portrait artist to follow these developments that evolve yet not completely transform the underlying likeness.
The sculptures were completed from life over time with the aid of numerous drawings. However, most of the work was done from memory. Instead of posing the Gabriel and Neige, which is practically impossible considering their age, I studied and sketched them creating frontal, 3/4 and profile drawings. The busts were blocked in using water based clay and I would work on them in the afternoons after spending the mornings with Gabriel or Neige. My extensive experience and training in Sight size has only strengthened my visual memory. Darren Rousar’s excellent book on the subject goes a bit more into my process. You can find his book here.
As a result these works do not just record a moment in time but capture, in a very small way, its passage. That is very evident in the marble bust of Gabriel due to the lengthy process required to carve it. The final piece is very different from the initial plaster model and even more different than his actual physical presence at the time of its completion. That will be the subject of a future post.
I will be heading up a course in small bronze statuary this fall in Florence. It will be a collaboration with master bronze founder and chaser, Fabrizio Cipriani. The whole process from model to patina will be covered. A special emphasis will be placed on traditional hand finishing of the bronze, in particular the use of the cesello. Il cesello is the italian term for the punches and chisels utilized in metal working. The bronze is carved, engraved and molded using the ceselli. It is a fantastic technique practiced by the ancient greeks and up until recently. It is a dying art and this will be a rare opportunity work with 2nd generation Italian master willing share his knowledge.
The class will be held at the Studio della Statua of sculptor Jason Arkles in Florence. It will meet several evenings a week with foundry visits generally scheduled on Saturday mornings. You can find more information about the class in the menu bar above. Or click right here. If you are interested please contact me via email or use the contact form at the bottom of the page.
M Gallery of Fine Art will be participating at the Sixteenth Annual Boston International Art fair this week from November 15th until the 18th. Maggie will be exhibiting my piece ‘Ceres’ along with a group of wonderful art. To find more about the fair, the site can be found here. I did post about the bust that can be found here.